“I know we have not won a trophy since 2005 but I do not consider that if you win the Carling Cup you will be going on a trophy parade. It is a competition for our younger players. If I don’t play them here where would I play them? We played in the quarter-final of the Champions League last season against top teams. Playing in those matches is 10 times harder than playing in the Carling Cup.”
Arsene Wenger, December 2009.
“I said to the players we will go for everything we can, as simple as that. [We are] not really specifying one more than the other one. We have a big squad, and as well, a good enough squad to go forward with trophies. That’s why I think, ‘OK let’s go as far as we can’. At the moment it is important for everybody to think we go for everything we can.”
Arsene Wenger, October 2010.
It seems another trophy-less season has had a profound effect on Arsene Wenger’s Carling Cup philosophy. Following his side’s exit against Manchester City last season and his repeated penchant for fielding a team of young reserves, Wenger stood by his decision to pay little attention to the competition.
But the transition from four season without silverware to five seasons has brought with it a new outlook on the situation. Arsenal are set to field a much stronger side for tonight’s clash with Newcastle than they have for the Carling Cup in recent seasons.
Wenger said: “There are a lot of demands from people who know you are at the top and they try always to find your weakness. They try to exploit that. We want to respond with the maximum commitment to the demands of people.”
We prefer to sum up the new philosophy as: beggars can’t be choosers.